Why INSEAD’s Time Has Finally Come



The global network effect

The school made a bold move in growing the student body to over 1000. The rationale behind the growth was that the school did not want to be a small, elite club for a few privileged westerners, but truly the “Business School for the World” – a transformative training ground for the next generation of business leaders from all continents. The size of the program is now paying dividends, as the school’s alumni network has grown to over 50,000 from 157 nationalities, living in 174 countries.  In 2005, McKinsey noted that there were 23 countries in which more than 100 INSEAD MBA alumni lived and worked; its closest competitor at the time, HBS, had such alumni presence in just 12. Since then, the breadth and depth of INSEAD’s network has grown dramatically, and INSEAD today can point to 45 countries in which it has more than 100 alumni. This network is an immense asset in creating a positive cycle of attracting more great MBA applicants and recruiters, as well as being a tremendous resource for the alumni as they progress in their careers.

The killer ROI of the one-year program

INSEAD invented the one-year MBA format over 50 years ago, and this has proven to be a highly successful model. Students appreciate the opportunity to gain their MBA degree (in which they cover 80% of the material you would cover in a top two-year program) in half the time, meaning a much lower overall cost and less foregone salary. The Forbes MBA ranking shows the program has the highest five-year ROI of any school in the world. Recruiters also comment that the intensity of the INSEAD program more closely mirrors the reality of professional life in a post MBA career, and better prepares students to hit the ground running when they start their new job.

INSEAD’s winning formula has firmly cemented its position among the world’s  leading business schools. In the last four years at Fortuna Admissions we have certainly seen increasing volumes of applicants from the US and around the globe targeting INSEAD as their first choice, and the number one spot in the FT will likely drive more applications to the school. In the volatile world of MBA rankings, the school should enjoy this moment in the sun. And regardless of rankings, under the strong leadership of the school’s dynamic young Dean, Ilian Mihov, INSEAD promises to continue to go from strength to strength.

Caroline Diarte Edwards

Caroline Diarte Edwards

Caroline Diarte Edwards is a director of Fortuna Admissions, a prominent MBA admissions consulting firm. An INSEAD MBA graduate, she was previously the school’s director of admissions, marketing and external relations from 2005 to 2012.


  • Intrigued

    What is your problem with INSEAD really? Its amazing how on any P&Q article on INSEAD, we always have Americans spouting non-sense about INSEAD: when 1/they have never lived in Europe and 2/they have no clue of the employment market here. If any of the two was true, you would not be saying this non-sense.
    Why do you even care about INSEAD anyway? No one is asking you to apply and judging by your US centric points of views, you either already got dinged, which will explain this detestation. If not yet, don’t even bother applying because they will ding you for sure.

  • Incredible

    HBS, might be the end of the world in the US. In Europe, not that much. I will pick INSEAD any day. As a matter of fact, I just applied to INSEAD and will apply to HBS only if INSEAD dings me.

  • Banana

    He may or may not be telling the truth but the point still stands, there are many many reason why would you might pick INSEAD over HBS (although equally as many, or more why you’d pick HBS over INSEAD).

  • Atul Sharma

    As a student at the ILPSE program, I can truly say that the quality of the professors is amongst the very best in the world, and the impact on the students is significant. I have seen my cohort (with senior executives from a wide cross-section of business) evolve as leaders, and I have felt my own calibration improve due to this program. I am sure that I will emerge from this program a substantially different individual than the one I was going in.

  • David

    Like! Of course the suave, globe-trotting Most Interesting Man in the world would prefer the Europe-fashionable MBA for the world.

  • Alex

    The most interesting man in the world said:

  • Alex

    The difference between the top5 (or perhaps even the top10) business schools is quite marginal. More importantly, these rankings motivate schools to try and perform better than their peers. So why would any rational person give a damn whether a (or his/her former) business school comes up one spot higher or lower than another school in year x or y.

  • LIM

    Just a personal observation, Lee. I was fortunate enough to be able to afford a two year MBA. I know a lot of people much smarter than me at the time couldn’t afford to go overseas for a first degree. If they have a chance to do a one year MBA, they would take it. And these people are do determined to succeed (and smart) I would expect them to do well in their career. These days, I follow P&Q purely because it could soon be my turn to pay for my kids MBA (if they get in!) and the fees are just getting out of hand. And you know what I am thinking?

  • lee

    I’m not so sure what you stated was obvious… Why do you say the Asian MBA students see the degree as a pure commercial decision?

  • Pinch Of Salt

    Maria, both my brother and my partner studied at INSEAD and Wharton respectively, so I have an unbiased opinion. My brother couldn’t land a job at graduation, he had to use his own network in his industry to find a job 2 months post graduation, maybe it was easier to network post INSEAD, with an MBA tag, I do not know. And 90% stat is 3 months post graduation, I do not think any batch had such a high stat during the time of graduation, but I could be wrong though. On the other hand Wharton’s career service is indeed top class, the career team takes lot of effort in getting to know the student, and matching his skillets to the industry and function. Though in terms of quality and diversity of students, I think INSEAD is a notch better.
    Though I really think INSEAD MBA is world class, the career service really needs to get their act together and attract top industry employers, currently it is way too consulting focussed from what I have seen, which is not bad but it needs to spread out and attract more non-consulting employers, which would make the experience significantly better than most US B-schools.